my soft spot

just a mom who plays hockey and knits

Friday, February 20, 2009

A couple of very full weekends

Weekend of Feb. 6


This was the first of two Social Skills nights at the Berkeley YMCA. The Y hosts these for free (!!) to any families who have kids who need social skills support. What was interesting this time was that G's school was showing Madagascar that night, and when given the choice, G opted for the Y, hands down.

We grab some suits and a snack and head over. This time, I've removed my cargo box from the roof of the car, having remembered that last time, we couldn't even park in there--we were summarily shunned because of being too high (they wouldn't even let me park in the main level, which has nice, high ceilings). As we're pulling into our spot, I mention that I cannot swim this time, due to my stitches. G says something about wanting to swim with his friend M--who pulls into the space next to us. M's easy-going, easy-on-the-eyes dad is with him and everyone enthusiastically decides to swim together.

We head inside and upstairs to the room where we do Check-In and have pizza. The gal who runs this part is really personable and interested. At this point, I'm feeling a little nuts in general about not having much of a break from G, and I mention to her privately that I was rebuffed from the local Regional Center when I asked about respite care (they basically said the only Asperger's kids they take have IQs under 100). She encourages me to apply anyway, which really lifts my spirits. (When I email to ask for an application, the woman again tries to discourage me, but says she'll send me the app anyway. Thanks.)

G is the only kid squirming around under his chair rather than sitting on it. From this, and his sneaking under the table to grab the pizza boxes, I gather he's starving for attention, or maybe just likes attention from this group. There is invariably a kid who asks me, "Why is he on the floor?" I have to answer that I don't know.

We have our pizza and move into the gym. They've finished working on the Family Gym and we have it all to ourselves! The Y person sets up a soccer game and sets it into motion. (I happily participate when it's floor hockey, of course.) I chat with a few of the other parents and realize it's really a great support group for parents. It's even kind of nice to see some kid give in to his impulse and disobey his parent--ah, yes, that's in our house, too.

G plays hard enough to get quite pink, climbs up on top of the giant pile of mats against my express permission (and earns himself a Mark for that day), and we head downstairs to Art.

G loves the Art area. I tolerate it but love the woman who runs it. She's easy-going and generous with the art supplies, and never loses it when a kid makes a huge pool of glue in the middle of the table. This night, she had punch-out, put-together wooden models. As G and M and M's dad headed off for the pool, I stayed and completely put together M's train model, hoping the whole time that it would be okay to do it. I adore models and had such a fun time with it. Finally went down to wait for them outside the men's locker room and chatted with another boy's mom for a while. I really like her son. Where M is sincere and friendly, P is engaging and articulate. We compared notes on our kids, who are more alike than not.

When G came out, he was very unhappy about being in the locker room without me, and told me so. The Y has explicit notes on the room doors that kids over age 6 are to go in the sex- (gender-?) specific locker room, period. But they do offer one or two Family/Gender-Alternative (not sure exactly how they phrased it) changing rooms, with showers I think; we'll use that next time.

Saturday was a very full day for us. I had the responsibility of copying three candidates' papers and bringing them to the Ecclesiastical Council for that day, so I printed them out and set out at 7AM to get them copied. After living in Berkeley for 4 or 5 years, I was astonished to go to Kinko's in Alameda and find that it wouldn't open until 10 AM that day! I headed to my office to copy and staple them there instead.

(Note: this is where this post stopped on 2/20. I'll be filling in what I remember, 2.5 months later!)

We get to the meeting on time, parking in the lot behind the church (such a rarity and gift in Berkeley!), and I get G up to the childcare room. The woman there is welcoming and understated. Things really get rocking when two other kids, known to us, arrive. When I peek in later, LEGOs are strewn far and wide and some kind of battle/game is going on, with all three kids fully engaged. The two small kids who've since arrived are looking on, fascinated.

The Ecclesiastical Councils went well that day--I jotted down several inspiring quotes. There are hard parts to ECs, including when you're not quite sure someone is a good choice for ordination (or literally, approval for ordination pending call, meaning they are good to go once they get an invitation from a church or other circumstance to be ordained). But there are wonderful, good parts, too: meeting with people outside our church and getting to know them; new food for thought on religion, God, Jesus, evil, and community; and seeing the polity of our church in action.

At the lunch break, the parents of the two other older kids and G and I went out to lunch together, the two of them wanting to escape the giant crowd for a while. Unfortunately, even though the restaurant we chose was very close by, we had such slow service that we were late getting back. Frustrating!

That evening, we had a scrimmage set up against the Buck-Toothed Angry Dolphins. The ice rink is a nice one near Palo Alto. I would have been on time, but muffed the directions thoroughly, getting off and going through East Palo Alto instead of staying on the main road till very close to the freeway. Argh. We made it and I dragged my gear UP THE STAIRS (a locker room up stairs in a hockey rink?!?). G ended up staying in the room the entire time. There's an old eMac hooked up with a camera so he could see the ice the entire time. He didn't watch. :) He had his DS, the room was warm, it was fine!

The scrimmage was fun, but as I recall, we got our butts kicked. They had some superfast forwards. I was completely put off by being put at wing at first (a big change from D with this team) but had some good plays IIRC. Totally thrown by the team box (there's another word for this) being higher than the ice, so getting on/off the ice is really awkward.

This was a practice before going to the Vacaville tournament the following weekend.

My calendar says G was an acolyte and that I had a 4:15 Fremont game. I remember nothing.

Weekend of Feb. 14

This was the day I got my new haircut (not that any of the 30 or so hockey players I saw at Vacaville noticed, lol!). I just HAD to get my hair cut, and my regular gal wasn't cutting that day, so I took a chance. I liked her so much, I wrote a Yelp! review on her. (Good thing, because someone else had gone to see her, for the same haircut even, and was not happy!) That afternoon, I went in to have my armpit stitches removed. The gal was efficient and talkative, but dang! it still hurt.

This was the first day of the Vacaville tournament. Folks from SJ had gotten hotel rooms, but as it was maybe an hour's drive for us, I opted to drive each day. We made good time and got there with time to spare. I was pleased to see that an autism research group was to get the profits from the tournament. They also had several nice raffle prizes, and had set it up so that you could put your tickets into specific boxes, rather than possibly winning, say, a Ralph Lauren purse. (But that's the subject of another post.)

I can't give any game stats because I don't remember much. I do remember having a lot of fun, and meeting up with my friend K for lunch (she didn't stay for hockey, which startled me at first--lots of fun women's hockey to watch!--but then I realized the aggression/violence might not be her cup of tea). That evening, G's friend had a birthday party, so I was able to drive to W's house, drop G off, and go home and relax. Suhweet.

Oh, I also remembered that G played DS pretty much nonstop for the tournament, but was also kind of antsy. This led to him falling backwards off the bleachers (onto rubber flooring, thank God) and having the wind knocked out of him. My wonderful Buck-Toothed Angry Dolphin friends got him up and asked him if he wanted to hang out in their locker room for a bit. He tearfully accepted. So good to have friends around.

An even earlier game than Saturday, but we made it fine, again. There was a playoff game but I do remember we weren't in it. I had considered playing my regular season game that afternoon, but realized I wouldn't make it in time anyway.

It was a fun, hockey-filled weekend, and G got to go in a jump house and play some games for tickets, which he could exchange for small plastic crap. So it was good for him, too.

Saturday, the 21st
I might as well keep going. The next Saturday was GHATD, our league's biannual Give Hockey A Try Day, run by yours truly (who deeply appreciates the league dues discount she'll receive this fall). Overall, it ran quite well, but only because of the massive help from all my wonderful volunteers. We ended up with 6 coaches, I think, which was one or two too many, and 3 goalies trying it out. Everyone had a massively good time, as expected, and people were so appreciative! One gal had just come because she was in from out of town and a friend of a GHATD player, so just for fun, and left saying, "I'm going to find a local league at home!" Awesome.


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